Author Topic: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls  (Read 6038 times)

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siamesecat2965

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Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« on: November 26, 2012, 02:12:37 PM »
http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20121122

Basically, a woman says she and her daughter have a difference of opinion on answering the phone.  Daughter thinks its ok not to answer if you're busy; mom says no, you should, but simply tell the caller you are busy, and you'll have to call them back later.

Mom also says daughter does this to her, and sometimes she won't call back for nine hours or until the next day, and daughter has been "watching a movie or walking the dog" Daughter is also in her 20's, married with a family.  Mom says she gets upset and nervous if she doens't hear from daughter, but also that when she answers daughter's calls, and says she's busy, daughter gets annoyed and says well, you shouldn't have answered the phone.

I pretty much agree with Abby, except for her telling mom that daughter not returning the call within 9 hours shows a lack of respect for mom's feelings. We all get busy, and to me, mom seems to be a tad overbearing.  I know I speak to my mom every day, and sometimes when she's not home, and is gone for sometime, I do get a tad anxious, but that's MY issue, not hers.  And she always calls me back when she's home.  So I don't thnk the daughter is showing any disrespect; I think she's living her life, and she calls mom back when its convenience for her.

Although Abby does go on to say perhaps mom calls too much....


Judah

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 02:26:26 PM »
Quote
Mom also says daughter does this to her, and sometimes she won't call back for nine hours or until the next day, and daughter has been "watching a movie or walking the dog"

Well, if I'm relaxing after a long day of work by watching a movie in the evening, or reading to my kids, or anything that I don't want to interrupt, it's probably too late when I'm finished to return a call, so it won't be returned until the next day. In this I disagree with Abby. 

I agree with the daughter that if you're too busy to take a call, you shouldn't answer. If it's important I'll leave a message.  There is never anything wrong with not answering the phone. My phone is there for my convenience and I won't answer it if I don't want to. 

I also think the mom needs to loosen the apron strings.  Her daughter is an adult with a family of her own and doesn't need to check in with her parents daily. 
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Sterling

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 02:41:45 PM »
My mom does this too.  She calls me at work at 9 am and then gets mad that I don't call her back until after 7 pm when I have finished cooking dinner and eating.  But she also knows that I can't talk during the day.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 02:48:43 PM »
Wow.  I only answer the phone when I feel like it and I very specifically don't say on my VM that I'll call back, because well... I might not.  Just because someone calls me and wants me to call them doesn't mean I have to.  Any outgoing calls I make are 100% my choice and my choice alone.

I definitely think the mother sounds overbearing, and I agree with Abby "also possible that [the mother] may be calling too often."  I have what I feel are very good and healthy relationships with both of my parents - and I speak to then no more then once a week, sometimes its a month in between talking.  Maybe there's a few emails or FB messages between speaking, but geez, like Abby says bad news travels fast, unless there is something to say, I'm not going to waste my time idly chatting.  I get it some people enjoy chatting, which is totally cool for them, but its not cool to expect everyone to be the same and super eager to call them (or call them back) over unimportant matters.

blahblahblah

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 04:04:48 PM »
My parents and I had a HUGE fight about this several years ago when I moved across the country. They wanted me to call every single day, and I thought that was overkill. They also think that I should return any and all missed calls within the same day. I ended up "winning" because circumstances were in my favor; it's not like they could force me to call them all the time. Once my mom tried to manipulate me into seeing things her way (by pretending that she had had to go to the hospital...long story) and it blew up in her face when I decided to not talk to her for eight months as a result. After that, they decided to move on to text messaging instead, which wasn't any better. That blew up in their faces as well when they yelled at me for not responding to my texts promptly and I decided to not go home for Christmas that year because I didn't want to deal with them. It's annoying to have to use this type of tactic (i.e. "stop badgering me unless you want to lose me completely") but tbh my parents don't respond to anything else. I can talk until my face turns blue, but they only sit up and pay attention when I do something like this. It's frustrating.

Honestly, my take on this is: I got a cell phone for my convenience, not anyone else's. It is not an electronic leash for people who feel entitled to get in touch with me 24/7.

It's for this reason that I can never, ever see myself moving back to my hometown. My parents would probably flip a lid if I didn't see them everyday. I love them but dang, they're smothering. And they wonder why I wanted to move across the country in the first place....
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 04:06:50 PM by blahblahblah »

cattlekid

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 04:23:19 PM »
Ooh, this is a sore spot for me.  I go weeks at a time between phone calls with my parents, who live halfway across the country from us.  As far as DH's mom, she calls every day and it used to be multiple times a day.  She does the round robin between cell and home phones (when we still had a landline) until we would pick up out of exasperation.  90% of the time there was no real reason for her call. 

Fast forward 10 years and she finally has it down that a) we will not answer the phone at 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning because we most likely are asleep and b) one call with a voice mail message with the purpose of the call is plenty and we will return her call at a time that fits our schedule and the seriousness of the reason for the call.

Jones

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 04:35:11 PM »
Weeks generally go between calls between myself and my parents. I think my mother is in shock because I've spoken to her three times in the last week.

If they are busy, they don't answer. If I am busy, I don't answer. Sometimes I may not notice a missed call until the next day. I may leave my phone home all day. Voicemail exists for a reason. I'd be annoyed if I made a call, someone answered, and as soon as they heard my voice said "I'm busy," as though they'd have spoken if it was someone else calling and once they confirmed it was me they were suddenly "busy."

That's my take on it.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 06:02:50 PM »
For me, it depends.  If I'm near the phone and although I can't talk *right that minute*, I can call them back in about 15 minutes, I'll answer to let whoever it is know.  I do that mainly because, if it's my sister calling, we end up playing phone tag.  If she knows I'll call back in x number of minutes, then she'll do whatever in the meantime or do something small to make sure she's free when I call back.

The mother in that letter though sounds a bit demanding.  Unless there's a need to talk every single day, then her daughter has every right to call her when it fits into her schedule.  Whether that's an hour later or the next day or whatever.  People get busy and sometimes don't have time to talk.  It's a fact of life.

I also think writing into an agony aunt for advice on it is a bit extreme.  What was she going to do if Abby agreed with her?  Present a print out to her daughter and order her to be more prompt in returning her calls?

MrsJWine

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 06:11:45 PM »
I have a few friends I will call because they live so far away, but for the most part, I stay far, far away from the thing. Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate talking on the phone. If it's important enough, she can leave a message. I will call back if it's important. If the person is just calling to chat, we can get together in person.

I have a lot of reasons for this, some rational (the big one is that I seem to be completely incapable of reading tone without accompanying body language and will often laugh/get defensive/get angry/make a joke when it's completely inappropriate), and some not. I prefer to text, email, or see someone face to face. It's our phone, and we pay for it, so it should be at our beck and call, not the other way around.


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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 06:21:17 PM »
I do not answer the phone if I'm busy or if I just don't feel like talking.  No one gets to set my schedule other than me, my DH, kids, and my boss to a certain point.  If I've missed your call more than 2 times, I most likely will stop what I'm doing to answer, but if it is just a "hey, what are you doing", I'm not going to be walking up and down the grocery aisles with a phone to my ear to keep you entertained.

I'm irritated by one of my sisters who does answer just to say "I'm in a meeting or I'm driving, can I call you back."  If your in a meeting or driving DON'T answer the stupid phone.
 

siamesecat2965

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 07:03:33 PM »
This also makes me think of my dad.  I'd sometimes call; my mom would be out, and he'd answer the phone, and be a bit pissy. I'd ask him what was wrong, and he'd say "I was in the middle of something!" Well then, that's what voicemail is for! And he'd grumble, and then turn into chatty charlie! It was just so funny since if he didn't answer, it wasn't a  big deal at all!

Like I said, I call my mom every day, or she calls me, but sometimes its just "hi, how are you, how was your day, ok bye" And if I'm not home, or she isn't, many times we don't even leave a message unless there's something we need to tell each other.

kherbert05

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 08:21:09 PM »
The part that spelled out that the Mom was out of line is that the daughter is married. So in all likelyhood there is someone that sees her every day.


I can understand wanting someone that lives alone and doesn't report in to work regularly to check in occasionally.





We had a beloved relative, who lived alone, pass and go undiscovered for nearly a week. After that another relative who lived alone set up a system were she called Mom every morning and Aunt every evening. She fell - and the the missed call set off alarms and she was found and got help.


Sis was young but  overheard the more horrible details. (Parents learned to NOT Talk in the kitchen if they didn't want sis to hear in her room). Because of that memory Sis and I have an agreement - on extended holidays I contact her once a day. It can be a simple FB update, just so that she hears from me. Thing is we agreed - she didn't demand.


She asked after I landed in the ER after catching an elderly relative who fell. She had been eating peanuts, I didn't know. I started having a reaction on the drive home. Thankfully I was passing an ER - got off the freeway and went to the hospital.
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BabylonSister

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2012, 08:24:21 PM »
I wonder if there might be a generational difference in attitudes. When I was a kid, very few individuals had answering machines (actually, none that I can think of.) If someone called you and wanted to talk to you, they'd have no way to communicate with you unless you picked up the phone. Maybe that's where the "You must always pick up, whether it's convenient or not" originated --even though most everyone now has an answering machine and/or voicemail.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2012, 08:32:12 PM »
yeah, I think that is a good point.  We have had personal experience in having a relative who lived alone and did not regularly contact people being found dead and I have heard stories from other people about having relatives being found after long periods of time so I think it is a bit different when a person lives alone.

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Dear Abby - answering and returning phone calls
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2012, 11:01:40 PM »
I do not answer the phone if I'm busy or if I just don't feel like talking.  No one gets to set my schedule other than me, my DH, kids, and my boss to a certain point.  If I've missed your call more than 2 times, I most likely will stop what I'm doing to answer, but if it is just a "hey, what are you doing", I'm not going to be walking up and down the grocery aisles with a phone to my ear to keep you entertained.

I'm irritated by one of my sisters who does answer just to say "I'm in a meeting or I'm driving, can I call you back."  If your in a meeting or driving DON'T answer the stupid phone.
 


I pod this. And I want to add my 2 cents because the subject says "and returning phone calls".

My DIL is usually very sweet but she doesn't a) listen to her voicemails or b) read her emails. It's just as iffy with text messages. So my 2 cents is if someone is awaiting an answer do them the basic courtesy of returning the call whether it's by phone, email or text. At least listen to the voicemail.

She tells me she let's her voicemails pile up and she doesn't read her emails. So I am not assuming anything. She admits to it.